Jerica's Empowerment Platform

Empowerment Vision

Corporate Responsibility




Snapshot of Our Commerce Sector


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Number of Large Companies in Cobb County

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(%) Growth Rate of Workforce

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Number of Active Business Associations

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(in thousands) Number of People Working in Cobb

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($M) Value of Active Tax Abatements Granted (through bonds)

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Number of Formally Registered Non-Profits




The Board of Commissioners and Corporations


Preventing Problems in Our Community

Many times, the government is retroactive in how it solves problems. By engaging our commerce sector in assisting with solving future problems: climate, sustainability, privacy, job training, industrial mechanization, poverty, and public health, we can be proactive with tackling such items. Piloting processes and technologies, implementing risk mitigation plans, rolling our massive programs, and encouraging partnerships with the many departments under the county's responsibility will accelerate Cobb County's progression into the future as a leading county in the country.

Growing Our Economy and Creating Jobs

More jobs mean more disposable income for our community. It is important that we continue to look for companies to be created here in Cobb and recruit larger companies as well. By helping smaller companies grow their footprints and equipping them with the assistance they need to meet county standards, we can better support a diversified workforce and set of industries. This can prevent falling into the perils of future economic recessions or depressions.

Increased Accountability

When things go wrong, we must be adamant about putting the community first. A lack of transparency is unacceptable. Attempting to hide information that could impact the community is unacceptable. At the end of the day, it is important that as representatives we enable the community to offer opinions, and present information in a responsible manner so that next steps can be decided. The standard of fairness and excellence is high and all companies (large or small) should adhere to it. I can promise that I will not be afraid to share information, make demands, and ask for restitution if at all possible.




How Do We Create a Vibrant Community?

Our Commerce Sector is One of the Best Sources for Investment in the Community



Companies Want to Protect Their Investments

When a new company moves to an area, they invest a lot of money into their buildings and services. To protect that investment, these same companies rely on representatives and community leaders to express what is needed. Below are areas where public-private partnerships can be further explored.

Travel and Transit

Social Programs

Housing Availability

Talent Development for Future Employees

Companies Want to be Prepared for Emergencies

Emergencies and mistakes happen, and they can be disastrous for the community and the company. What is important is accountability when something goes wrong and contingency plans. These are areas where we demand new companies to have developed plans and input on county plans.

Enterprise Risk Management & Emergency Planning

Infrastructure and Planning for Future Growth

Public Relations Opportunities

Educate and Ensure Proper Zoning, Ordinance, and Classification Requirements (i.e high hazard)

Companies Want to be Incentivized and Grow Their Bottom Line

When it comes to courting new companies and industries, many are well-acquainted with tax abatements. While that is one of the primary factors, there are many other incentives to move to an area. Below is a short list of some that have been identified as key influencers.

Analyzing the Availability of Local Talent

Presence of Competitors

Relatively Low Tax Rate

Access to Airport and Other Large Transit/Shipping Options

Small and Large Businesses Need Support in Getting Started (Tax Abatement and Ease of Use)

Analyzing the Quality of Living in Surrounding Areas

Community Reception to Industry and Public Relations Opportunities




Corporate responsibility is a badge of honor. When new companies move to Cobb, they are looking to grow their roots. They want to keep turnover low, buildings safe, and a positive perception. Businesses thrive in a connected community where transit options are plentiful, streets are safe, and educational opportunities abound. Therefore, corporations serve as one of the strongest proponents of investing in the community. We must be bold in how we look at investments made into our community, and not be afraid to ask for everything that is needed. They are as reliant on the community as the community is on them.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

Empowerment Vision

Community Involvement & Planning




Snapshot of Community Engagement


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Transit Projects in the County

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Number of Completed Studies Since 2014

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($M) Amount Spent on Public Safety

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($M) Amount Overtime on Listed Special Projects

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(%) County Revenue Growth

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(%) County Population Growth




The Board of Commissioners and Planning


Commitment to Transparency

Open records requirements just don’t cut it. Everytime we create a new fund, pass an ordinance, roll out an event, we must be proactive in thinking about how to keep information up to date and accessible. Also, if one must rely on an open records request, the process should be clear, not obscure. In today’s world, you have to know which report you are looking for. If you’ve never worked for the government or do not have a law degree, you are likely not going to find what you are seeking. How can we expect people to fully embrace their rights if we prohibit them from accessing information?

Unique Engagement Activties

Many times, town halls go in one direction. They become opportunities for elected officials and community leaders to push an agenda. I am making a commitment to engage people where they are. If it means visiting their homes, doing some thing fun, or utilizing communication platforms, we must do everything we can to gain the intelligence of our communities. Collaboration is not accidental- it takes bringing people together, creating an open and respectful atmosphere, and developing an avenue by which everyone can be heard, understood, and responded to.

Access to Resources and Partners

Constituent services are important. This is about making a commitment to being accessible and resourceful. Whatever you are looking for, we will point you in the right direction. Access goes beyond reactive activities,however. It’s also about ensuring that we are using as many communication streams as possible and delivering clear and useful information. There should be awareness around county services so that people know where to go.




How Do We Restore Balance in Representing the Voice of the Community?





Work with schools to do tours of local government and its impact

In training the next generation of leaders and people living in the county, we want to work with the school board in exposing students to the importance of local government, and the different options they have for involvement- running for office, attending meetings, joining boards, lobbying, and all other facets that assist in empowering the next generation. This can be done by making special visits to schools or arranging school field trips.

Bi-directional Town-halls

Restructuring town-halls to effectively include the opinions of the community. There should be more opportunities for Q&A, supporting documents and media, and a channel created to continue the conversation.

More Community Surveys

Given a major board decision, surveys should be distributed effectively in different areas, and not solely reliant on referendums which tend to sample against a subset of residents. Surveys can be more accomodating for those that are less connected to our government.

Public Network of Community Leaders

The creation and maintenance of a database that has contacts listed for particular groups so that residents can seek resources or information. This network will be publically listed, and new additions can be requested online.

County/City App for All Services, Alerts, Meetings, and Decisions (CobbHOME)

The abundance of constituent services should be easily accessible. This can be provided through a downloadable application that is either supported by the county or a third party. (Taxes, starting a business, political involvement, etc.)

Open Records Request Deadlines and Searchable Report Catalog

For all records that are noted as public, these should be accessible for others to easily search against. There should also be a library that provides guidance for finding the correct document request. Also, open records requests should be accomodated within a particular time (newly vs previously generated reports).

Improved Marketing of County Services

County services, needs, and events should have improved marketing beyond the county calendar, newsletter and website. Partnerships with community groups, companies, and community leaders should produce greater awareness and accessibility for people to be involved.

Leverage Technology: Virtual Town-halls, Published Summaries of Meetings

Not everyone can be available for public meetings, and leveraging technology and providing easy-to-read recaps of meetings will provide increased community awareness and involvement.




Sadly, the community is oftentimes the last to be engaged when it comes to decisions that bear a heavy burden on the residents and visitors. We must restore that balance and make sure that all voices are represented.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

Empowerment Vision

Civil Liberties




Snapshot of Our Community


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Number of Annual Fairs and Festivals

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(%) Racial Disparity in Poverty

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Number of Constitutional Cities and Districts

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(k) Population of Cobb County

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(%) Poverty in Cobb County

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(%) Growth Rate of Cobb Population




The Board of Commissioners and Civil Liberties


Removing Discriminatory Barriers

Different experiences drive unique perspectives, and neither District 2 nor Cobb County at large are at a shortage of diversity. Cobb County is home to a population of young families, ethnically diverse communities, immigrant populations. Unfortunately, history has produced systemic and infrastructural limitations that require intentional and strategic actions to reverse. True empowerment, in addition to transparency and an avenue for expression, requires the right to self-determination. This can be difficult for communities with limited resources, and I am committed to removing barriers that clearly impact access to influence.

I am also committing to reaffirming the rights of individuals. We should be clear and bold in making sure that people are not targeted in ways that may cause harm both physically and/or structurally. In this effort, I would like to champion an anti-discriminatory policy/declaration, but also put actions in place that will engender measurable results like increased participation.

In this effort, I will also be looking to repeal/amend ordinances that are no longer applicable or cause long-term harm.

Celebrating and Encouraging Diversity

Cobb’s diversity is flourishing, and it would benefit the county both economically and socially to embrace such trends. There are opportunities to highlight specific districts and we can get there by creating a Board for Cobb County Cultural Diversity. This volunteer-based board would consist of appointed members from sanctioned communities (Cities, County Districts, and Community Improvement Districts). This board would be tasked with identifying cultural epicenters and positioning them for expanding Cobb County’s tourism value. Examples include: arts districts, ethnically diverse districts, and others. By celebrating our diversity, we can further drive a sense of community which results in a safer community.

Empowering the Marginalized

Communities around Cobb are extraordinarily distinct, but are disconnected. We also have an abundance of disconnected vulnerable communities which include our veterans, homeless, and victims of human trafficking. If we are to make better policy decisions and participate in regional planning exercises sensibly, we must enact live.work.play initiatives. We must drive connections between communities through transit, convergence, and discussion.

Members of our community are well-versed on issues that impact their communities, but are not always given the opportunity, resources, or information to empathize with issues around the county. Our Board of Commissioners, as a result, is fractured and at times, a Board member may feel marginalized as he/she attempts to represent a specific area or group. By connecting these distinct communities and creating avenues for empathic discussion, we can be more united in decision making. The promise of our republic is that it engages a social contract between the people and its representatives. I commit to ensuring that people are given the opportunity to see the bigger picture. To do this intentionally, we must engage communities with a platform to connect, collaborate, create, and coordinate.




How Can We Remove Barriers & Ensure Access to Opportunities?

Produce Anti-discriminatory Policy

Several models exist and are being adopted within Metro Atlanta. We must articulate the county's priorities and decide that we want to extend and affirm God-given protections to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the common welfare.

Consider Barriers in Planning Activities/Check Assumptions

Planning activities do not always consider cultural or systemic trends, but rather causatory trends. Given that unique communities have unique perespectives, are distributed in an unequal way, certain assumptions may be impacted by undersampling or oversampling. We cannot discount the impact of either in planning our future.




Which Barriers Should We Consider?

Economic Barriers

Economically-influenced hindrances we must consider

Livable wages and time or opportunity for civic participation

Enforcement targeting due to lack of resources

Isolated investments in opportunity zones

Household income distribution and discretionary spending
(Learn More)

Predatory/Targeted Lending Practices



Social Barriers

Socially-influenced hindrances we must consider

Civic education and faith in government

Awareness of county service options (marketing, education, presence)

Marginalized or vulnerable communities targeted with violence or isolation

Lack of addresses or restricted options for communities in need (mental health, homeless, veterans)



Structural Barriers

Structurally-influenced hindrances we must consider

Historical remnants of systemic marginalization and opportunity exposure

Infrastructual disconnectivity/immobility

Living arrangement differences by unique communities

Lack of self-determination in communities of need

Food deserts and health costs over time

Proper statistical analysis representative of area (median income vs median cost of living

Encourage Self-Determination by Providing Transparent Data, Awareness, and Education

Communities must be empowered to make decisions for their own benefit. WHen it comes to financial grants and policy, these communities should be represented as they know best what is needed. Implementing this includes bi-directional town-halls, dialogue, accessible and marketed work sessions, strategic invovlement of community leaders, use of technology, and the intentional choice to "meet people where they are".

Interpreting Georgia Code (for Empowerment)

See full Georgia Code for Cobb County, GA here.

"To empower the governing authority of Cobb County, the Board of Commissioners of Roads and Revenues of Cobb County, Georgia, to adopt ordinances or regulations for the governing and policing of said county, for the purpose of protecting and preserving the health, safety, welfare and morals of the citizens thereof as it may deem advisable; and for the implementation and enforcement of all duties and powers now or hereafter vested in said board as the governing authority of Cobb County, Georgia, and to provide penalties for violations of such ordinances."


Sections to the Code/How to Read

Part I. Official Code

Indicates how the Board of Commissioners operates and articulates all codes each department enforces

Part II. State Enabling Legislation

Illustrates the creation, operations, powers, and purpose of specific board, departments, or quasi-governing entities.


Departments/Infrastructural Components

Your Rights

1. Propose an amendment to the Board of Commissioners for consideration

2. Engage a department to analyze a community change

3. Utilize any services rendered by the Board of Commissioners

Alcoholic Beverages

Animals

Aviation

Building Regulations

Cable Communications

Civic & Cultural Affairs

Civil Emergencies

Courts

Elections

Civil Emergencies

Community Development

Environment

Fire Prevention & Protection

Floods

Health & Sanitation

Historic Preservation

Library

Licenses, Permits, & Businesses

Manufactured Homes & Trailors

Nuisances

Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions

Parks & Recreation

Personnel

Planning

Solid Waste

Streets, Sidewalks, and Other Public Places

Subdivisions

Taxes

Traffic & Vehicles

Vehicles for Hire

Waterways

Zoning

Jerica's Proposal for a Diversity Initiative that Works

The county's current commitment to diversity can be found in the GA code at this link.


Extending the Current Commitment by Creating a Diversity Board

A diversity board for the county can help source/identify unique districts and culturally diverse areas that can be supported and, in turn, stimulate the local economy.

WHO: Diversity board with community appointees (county district, cities, CIDs) will drive an ongoing and intentional effort to connect communities

WHAT: Propose and encourage cultural initiatives and districts for county acknowledgement, marketing, and planning; Analyze and identify economic opportunities to incentivize tourism and grow economic base by supporting distinct communities; Contribute to planning meetings to account for and involve unique community perspectives and needs

HOW: Codified committment increases potential for resources and investment; Further incentivize commercial relocation to Cobb County

WHY: Strengthen the relationship between the local economy and diversity initiatives to incentivize community empowerment

Examples of Unique Communities

Arts & Entertainment
Animal Competitions
E-sports/Gaming
Ethnically & Culturally Diverse Communities
Cities
Community Improvement Districts
Livable Centers by Grant

Cobb is a beautiful county fully equipped with many people from different backgrounds. We must make sure that Cobb stays a place to call home where safety, stability and significance is the standard for the many that live here.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

Empowerment Vision

Grant Funding




Snapshot of Federal Collaboration


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($M) Funds for Community Development

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Number of Grants Available

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Number of Grant Awarding Department/Agencies

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Number of Grant Recipients

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Number of People Directly Impacted

13

(%) Federal Funding Cuts this Year - total dollars decrease as well




The Board of Commissioners and Special Grant Funding


Collaboration on Large Scale Projects

Every year, we have major projects slated to complete. In addition, we have created our own special purposes tax allocation (SPLOST) in order to accommodate the ones we prioritize in Cobb County. Where we do not always get it right is when it comes time to collaborate.

Relationships matter and my goal to position us as a model for the rest of the country requires relationships and collaboration with multiple layers of government and the corresponding agencies. We can achieve the balance between growth and stability. We can support communities and accomplish an equitable ecosystem while increasing the standard of living county-wide. It take us being leaders.

Increase Access to Funds for the Community

With regards to community and economic development, there is a significant amount of funds dedicated. Unfortunately, these funds do not possess high visibility, nor do they serve to empower community groups. Many of them serve to empower large, infrastructurally-oriented companies and institutions. While these groups service many and participate in, organize, and administer extraordinarily beneficial programs, we must also ensure that funds are accessible to smaller groups. This will allow for a balance and community self-determination.

Fight for More Grants to the County

Inter-governmental Agreements (IFAs) are an aligned group of multiple governing bodies that collaborate for some intended purpose. My commitment is to fight for additional funds to be allotted for the county in the efforts of driving a model for Metro-Atlanta that can be adopted in other rapidly-growing suburbs of large cities. by taking this charge, we can find new investments for infrastructre, community and economic development initiatives that will have a long-term impact on our wonderful county.




Purpose/Philosophy of Grants

Publically available
grants should be
equitably distributed
in accordance to needs; grants should be used for
one-time measures
that make a real quantifiable difference or
incentive for specific outcomes and behaviors
grant funding should be provided by the people that use them,
donations, foundations, and agencies of lower and higher order

Currently Available Grants

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the CDBG program provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to Entitlement Communities as a means to support viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate-income persons. The application Cycle for PY2020 CDBG Public Facilities and CDBG Public Services ended at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 2019.

HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME)

Through the Home Investment Partnerships Act (HOME), HUD provides formula grants for communities to use in partnership with local nonprofit groups to fund a wide range of activities to develop rental and single-family homes for income-eligible persons.

Emergency Solution Grant (ESG)

HUD also provides funding to communities through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) which is designed to assist individuals and families to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness. ESG funds are available for five program components: street outreach, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, rapid re-housing assistance, and data collection through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The primary objective of the ESG Program is to assist people in quickly regaining stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program was created by the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities through the Georgia State Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Family & Children Services. Cobb County receives an annual formula-based allocation from DHS. The Community Service Block Grant provides core funding to local agencies to reduce poverty, revitalize low-income communities and to empower low-income families to become self-sufficient. The Program provides support for nonprofit agencies that provide services for low-income persons in Cobb. Eligible households include those whose incomes are at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.

Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program (42 U.S.C. § 3751(a)) was created as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005. The JAG Program, administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The JAG Program provides states, tribes, and local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)

EFSP is a Federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. EFSP funds are used by Local Recipient Organizations for mass shelter, mass feeding, food distribution through food pantries and food banks, one-month utility payments to prevent service cut-off, and one-month rent/mortgage assistance to prevent evictions or assist people leaving shelters to establish stable living conditions. The EFSP program goal is for funded agencies, (known as “Local Recipient Organizations”), to use EFSP supplemental funds for mass shelter, mass feeding, food distribution through food pantries and food banks, one-month utility payments to prevent service cut-off, and one-month rent/mortgage assistance to prevent evictions or assist people leaving shelters to establish stable living conditions.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Grant Program

At the October 22, 2019 Board of Commissioners public hearing, the board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Development Authority of Cobb County for a $50,000 grant to the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Incentive Program. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Incentive Program was approved by the Board of Commissioners in February of 2018. This Program is funded by the Development Authority of Cobb County (DACC), created by the State of Georgia to develop and promote the public good and general welfare trade, commerce, industry, and employment opportunities for Cobb. This authority is led by a board of volunteers and is solely funded by service and loan fees related primarily to loan/bond programs administered by DACC.

Jerica's Proposed Grants

Economic Empowerment Grant (EEG)
Incentivizes:

Legal support for new companies, financial literacy programs, code adoption,

Collaboration (IGA):

Pending

Community Outreach & Betterment Grant (COB Grant)
Incentivizes:

Veterans programs, Job training and employment, education, diversity initiatives, afterschool programs, crime prevention/reduction/rehabilitation programs, athletic programs (all ages)

Collaboration (IGA):

State Legislators, County Commissioners, Private Equity, Federal Government (Dept of Veterans Affairs)

Public School Investment Council Grant (ICGrant)
Incentivizes:

Public schools in Opportunity Zones having additional funds to support efforts

Collaboration (IGA):

School Board, State Legislators, Federal Government (IRS, Dept of Education)

Environmental Empowerment Grant
Incentivizes:

Development of sustainable practices and technologies that foster a forward-thinking economy around the environment

Collaboration (IGA):

Collegiate Council (Board of Regents), State Government, Federal Government (NIH,NSF, FDA)

New Communities Grant (NCG)
Incentivizes:

Self-directed community improvement programs for beautification, services, and other quality of life measures

Collaboration (IGA):

Pending

It’s important that the community is able to participate with its government in meaningful ways. It’s just as important that the government participate in helping people as well. When ideas come from the community that can help Cobb lead the way into its future, it’s important that we find ways to support them.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner


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